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American Express Knows Who You Are

Posted On June 6, 2013

When you think of great customer care probably a large credit card company wouldn’t come right to mind, but it should. For some time now American Express has been wowing their customer’s with fantastic customer service.
Customer service call centers are notorious points of frustration for many customers. In order to manage high call volumes most customer service training revolves around short call times and strict policy. You may get superficial friendliness but overall it is usually a negative experience that customers try to avoid.
American Express sought to revolutionize the call center experience when they hired Jim Bush as the Executive VP of World Service. His vision was to create a genuinely friendly experience for the customer and move away from the overly scripted robotic dialog. He quickly got to work on overhauling the entire customer service department.
Many companies rate their customer service staff based on metrics that measure their average call time; that means that employees actually get rewarded for rushing frustrated customers off the phone. Jim resolved this issue but changing how he measured his staff’s success. Now American Express asks each customer after a call, “Would you recommend American Express to a friend?” Instead of collecting numbers and metrics they are concentrating on customer satisfaction.
The scripts have been replaced by screens full of customer data eliminating the robotic tone and making it easier for the staff and the customer to make a personal connection. Due to the nature of their business, American Express knows a lot about their customers. They use data mining and compilation to learn as much as they can about their customers’ needs and wants.
Unlike most training programs that focus at least 75% of their time of the technicalities of performing their jobs, American Express now spends a good portion of their training hours on relationship building and hospitality. Changing the way people feel about calling in to talk to their service providers, such as credit card companies, is a game changer for everyone. Almost all companies have some form of customer service and many that are large enough have call centers. The lesson to be learned from the American Express story is to treat customers like people and not like statistics. No one likes to be rushed when they are calling in to ask questions or report a problem. Is your call center in need of a makeover?

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